Matt LaFleur says he still believes in Jordan Love as the Packers continue to slump

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Packers coach Matt LaFleur says he still believes in quarterback Jordan Love even as Green Bay's offense continues to struggle at the start of games.

The Packers have been outscored 63-6 in the first half of their last four games. They trailed 9-0 midway through their 19-17 loss at Denver on Sunday.

“Our confidence in him is not wavering one bit,” LaFleur said Monday. “Certainly as the play caller, you put a lot of onus on yourself when things aren’t going well, and we’ll continue to do that. But we’ve got to find a way to generate more points because when you’re generating points, it’s just a totally different narrative.”

Although the Packers overhauled their roster to get much younger this year, they’re delivering the same poor October results they produced last season.

Last year, Aaron Rodgers’ Packers followed up a 3-1 start by losing five straight. Love has Green Bay on a three-game skid.

The 2022 Packers dug their way out of that hole and had control of their postseason destiny before losing at home to the Detroit Lions in the final week of the season. This year’s Packers haven’t shown they’re capable of making a similar run.

They lack experience, they can’t stay healthy and they start way too slowly. The only encouraging sign is that three of the Packers’ four losses were decided by a total of seven points.

“We’ve got to find a way to make the plays, especially at the end of the game,” LaFleur said. “There’s been three times this year where our offense has had the ball with an opportunity to go down and take the lead, and we haven’t gotten it done.”

After averaging 31 points over their first two games, the Packers haven’t exceeded the 20-point mark in any of their last four. The NFL’s youngest offense lost veteran left tackle David Bakhtiari to a season-ending knee injury after one game. Running back Aaron Jones — the Packers’ most proven playmaker on offense — has been dealing with a hamstring injury that forced him to miss three games and limited to no more than 11 touches when he's played.

Even after rallying to pull ahead in the second half of each of their last two games, the Packers lost both because they couldn’t protect fourth-quarter leads. Green Bay’s defense has been pretty good, but not when it matters most.

But it’s hard to put much blame on a defense that has allowed fewer than 20 points in each of its last two games. The offense simply must get better — much better.

WHAT’S WORKING

Green Bay’s defense held Denver to field goals on each of the Broncos’ first three red-zone possessions before finally allowing a touchdown in the third quarter.

WHAT NEEDS WORK

Take your pick. The offense hasn’t scored a first-half touchdown in its last four games. Love’s lack of accuracy on downfield passes has prevented Green Bay from creating big plays. The Packers’ longest gain Sunday came on their final drive when AJ Dillon caught a pass around the line of scrimmage and turned it into a 29-yard pickup. ... On defense, the Packers have forced just two takeaways over their last four games. ... The Packers are allowing 143.7 yards rushing per game. Only the Carolina Panthers and Broncos are giving up more.

STOCK UP

Dillon has come on after a slow start. He had 61 yards rushing and 22 yards receiving Sunday. He has rushed for 137 yards over his last two games after totaling 118 in Green Bay’s first four.

STOCK DOWN

LG Elgton Jenkins had a holding penalty that forced Green Bay into second-and-20 after the Packers had reached Broncos territory on their final drive. ... LT Rasheed Walker committed two penalties — a face mask and a false start — though the face mask call was declined. ... S Jonathan Owens was penalized for defensive holding on a third-down incompletion, giving the Broncos a first down on their lone touchdown drive.

INJURIES

CB Eric Stokes played for the first time since suffering a major foot injury last November, but he hurt his hamstring and left early in the game. ... TE Luke Musgrave left after taking a hit to the head that led to an ejection and four-game suspension for Broncos S Kareem Jackson. ... S Darnell Savage (calf) and DL Devonte Wyatt (knee) also left the game. ... CB Jaire Alexander (back) didn’t play for the third time in four games. LB De'Vondre Campbell (ankle) missed a third straight game.

KEY NUMBER

6 — The Packers have lost their last six October games. Their last October victory was a 27-24 overtime triumph over visiting New England on Oct. 2 of last season.

NEXT STEPS

The Packers return to Lambeau Field for their next two games as they host Minnesota on Sunday and the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 5. The Packers haven’t played a home game since a 34-20 loss to Detroit on Sept. 28.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL